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Indian Companies Invested Over $4 Billion in South Africa, says CII

According to the report, leading Indian companies such as Wipro, state-run Coal India, Cipla, Jindal Steel and Power, Mahindra and Mahindra have recently made investments in South Africa.

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PwC Chief Executive (Southern Africa) Dion Shango said:
Companies, representational image, Pixabay
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Indian companies have invested over $4 billion in South Africa and created 18,000 direct jobs in the continent’s biggest economy, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said on Sunday

According to a new CII report “Indian Industry’s Inclusive Footprint in South Africa – Doing business, doing good”, prepared jointly with British advisory multinational Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), there are 140 Indian companies operating in South Africa whose contributions go beyond foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country, and include key CSR and skill development initiatives.

“Indian companies operating in South Africa are not just investing funds and creating jobs, but are actively contributing to the upliftment of the communities in which they operate,” a CII release said here.

According to the report, leading Indian companies such as Wipro, state-run Coal India, Cipla, Jindal Steel and Power, Mahindra and Mahindra have recently made investments in South Africa.

According to the report, leading Indian companies such as Wipro, state-run Coal India, Cipla, Jindal Steel and Power, Mahindra and Mahindra have recently made investments in South Africa.
Indian companies invest in South Africa, pixabay

“In the healthcare sector, the entry of Indian pharma companies Ranbaxy and Cipla brought in drastic reduction in the cost of anti-retroviral drugs in South Africa, saving thousands of lives. Indian companies are taking steps to transfer skills to South Africans, particularly in the IT sector,” it said.

Also Read: Over 10 Lakh Bankers to go on Strike, Wants IBA to Improve Offer

In a statement, CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee said: “The report highlights the journey of the historic and economic relationship between India and South Africa, looking at the key sectors where Indian companies are thriving.”

PwC Chief Executive (Southern Africa) Dion Shango said: “Indian companies are demonstrating their commitment to sustainable development in South Africa across education and healthcare schemes to job creation, agricultural projects and empowering women.”

A focus on ethical business practice comes through in the report, as this is of critical importance for Indian companies operating in South Africa, the statement added. (IANS)

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Chocolate Ingredient Cacao Dates Back To 5,400 yrs Ago

A growing interest in cacao flavors, indicates a return to a time when chocolate wasn't just an ingredient buried in a candy bar.

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A worker holds dried cacao seeds at a plantation in Cano Rico, Venezuela. VOA

New research strengthens the case that people used the chocolate ingredient cacao in South America 5,400 years ago, underscoring the seed’s radical transformation into today’s Twix bars and M&M candies.

Tests indicate traces of cacao on artifacts from an archaeological site in Ecuador, according to a study published Monday. That’s about 1,500 years older than cacao’s known domestication in Central America.

“It’s the earliest site now with domesticated cacao,” said Cameron McNeil of Lehman College in New York, who was not involved in the research.

The ancient South American civilization likely didn’t use cacao to make chocolate since there’s no established history of indigenous populations in the region using it that way, researchers led by the University of British Columbia in Canada said.

Cacao,chocolate
-A cacao pod hangs from a tree at the Agropampatar chocolate farm co-op in El Clavo, Venezuela. VOA

But the tests indicate the civilization used the cacao seed, not just the fruity pulp. The seeds are the part of the cacao pod used to make chocolate.

Indigenous populations in the upper Amazon region today use cacao for fermented drinks and juices, and it’s probably how it was used thousands of years ago as well, researchers said.

Scientists mostly agree that cacao was first domesticated in South America instead of Central America as previously believed. The study in Nature Ecology & Evolution provides fresh evidence.

Three types of tests were conducted using artifacts from the Santa Ana-La Florida site in Ecuador. One tested for the presence of theobromine, a key compound in cacao; another tested for preserved particles that help archeologists identify ancient plant use; a third used DNA testing to identify cacao.

Chocolate
A light almond cream candy carries the initials for Russell Stover Candies in Kansas City, Kansas. VOA

Residue from one ceramic artifact estimated to be 5,310 to 5,440 years old tested positive for cacao by all three methods. Others tested positive for cacao traces as well, but were not as old.

How cacao’s use spread between South America and Central America is not clear. But by the time Spanish explorers arrived in Central America in the late 1400s, they found people were using it to make hot and cold chocolate drinks with spices, often with a foamy top.

“For most of the modern period, it was a beverage,” said Marcy Norton, a historian at the University of Pennsylvania and author of “Sacred Gifts, Profane Pleasures: A History of Tobacco and Chocolate in the Atlantic World.”

The chocolate drinks in Central America often contained maize and differ from the hot chocolate sold in the U.S. They did not contain milk, Norton said, and when they were sweetened, it was with honey.

 

cocoa, chocolate
A worker holds cocoa beans at SAF CACAO, a export firm in San-Pedro, Ivory Coast, Jan. 29, 2016. VOA

By the 1580s, cacao was being regularly imported into Spain and spread to other European countries with milk being added along the way. It wasn’t until the 1800s that manufacturing advances in the Netherlands transformed chocolate into a solid product, Norton said.

Michael Laiskonis, who teaches chocolate classes the Institute of Culinary Education, said he’s seeing a growing interest in cacao flavors, indicating a return to a time when chocolate wasn’t just an ingredient buried in a candy bar.

Also Read: Consuming Cacao May Improve Vitamin D Intake, Says Study

He said he tries to incorporate chocolate’s past into his classes, including a 1644 recipe that combines Mayan and Aztec versions of drinks with European influences.

“It’s something that’s always been transforming,” he said. (VOA)